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What we do

Counter terrorism and the promotion of communal violence

Since the late 1960s, when terrorism began to directly affect Australia, we have been working to prevent terrorist attacks and disrupt the activities of terrorists who threaten Australia and its interests. The recent rise of Islamist terrorism has resulted in several successful terrorist attacks against Australians both here and overseas. One of our key focuses is the threat from a small number of Australians, both in Australia and in the Syria/Iraq conflict zone, who have the potential to conduct or inspire attacks.

Our unique contribution to the fight against terrorism is our ability to predict and anticipate emerging threats, to collect and assess intelligence, and to provide advice to our partners that enables them to take timely action to protect Australians and their interests. ASIO intelligence has been instrumental in disrupting numerous terrorist attacks in Australia and overseas.

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Counter espionage, foreign interference and malicious insiders

Australia has long been a target of espionage and foreign interference by hostile foreign intelligence services. Espionage can involve the theft of sensitive, privileged or classified information which results in harm to Australia’s national interests. Foreign interference can involve undue influence of our political processes or public opinion to the benefit of a foreign power. Malicious insiders can exploit their trusted access to intentionally or unintentionally assist a foreign power, or to harm Australia’s interests.

ASIO has specific legislative responsibility for countering espionage and foreign interference. We work closely with partners in Australia and overseas to detect and degrade the harmful activities of our adversaries. Recently we have detected and degraded significant hostile foreign intelligence activity against Australia’s interests. We also work across government and private industry to increase awareness of the threat, and develop effective countermeasures.

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Counter serious threats to Australia’s border integrity

Australia’s prosperity relies upon the movement of people and goods across our border. But some adversaries—such as terrorists or people smugglers—may try to exploit our border to further their own interests or harm us.

ASIO works with partners to protect Australia from serious threats to our border integrity. We provide security assessments on people seeking visas to come to Australia, and we support whole-of-government efforts to counter and disrupt people smugglers.

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Collect foreign intelligence in Australia

Foreign intelligence is intelligence about the capabilities, intentions or activities of people and organisations offshore. ASIO assists other members of the Australian Intelligence Community (AIC) to collect foreign intelligence in Australia.

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Provide protective security advice to government and business

Protective security advice helps government, business, and owners of critical infrastructure to make decisions about how they protect their information, people and assets.

ASIO delivers protective security advice to government and the private sector through our ‘T4’ protective security program, our security assessments on people seeking access to classified information, support to the Australian Government’s foreign investment decision-making processes, and through our Business and Government Liaison Unit (BGLU).

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